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Posted by EricO on April 15, 2002 at 09:43:04:
In Reply to: School Report on Soft-Shell Turtles posted by Michigan Student on April 14, 2002 at 09:06:09:
Here's one interesting fact: since the age of dinosaurs ended 65 million years ago, only three genera of reptiles of any kind have survived to the present. There are many modern reptiles that are similar to reptiles from the age of dinosaurs, but they are not quite close enough to be currently classified in the same genus. The three are: Crocodylus (large crocodiles); Podocnemis (South American sideneck turtles) and Trionyx (softshell turtles). Formerly, many of the modern softshells were included in this genus, but now it has been greatly subdivided in the newer taxonomic systems, so I'm not sure which modern species are now most like the ancient softshells. The bottom line here is that although modern softshells appear to be highly specialized and evolved, they are among the most ancient of living reptiles and swam with the dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era.